I said YES!
God was once again in the details of our story. The week before our engagement was a good but difficult week. Earlier in the week, my Bible study was on God’s unfailing love. Once again God gently spoke to my heart and drew me into His Presence. “Come to Me and be satisfied. Discover more and more of My love.Do not place expectations on Stephen that do not belong to him. When you are satisfied by My love, you can more freely enjoy the gift of Stephen. If you look to him to satisfy you, you will always be discouragement, disappointed, and discontent. For no matter how well Stephen loves you, his love is only human. My love has no limits. Come daily to Me and be satisfied.”
I had expected to see Stephen that weekend and when it looked like our plans would be pushed back to the following weekend I felt disappointed. You often hear that long distance relationships can be hard. For different reasons this week felt the hardest for me. Yet, I chose to come back to God. I gave God my feelings of disappointment and I chose to trust in His unfailing love. I chose to give thanks despite my feelings.I reminded myself of all the ways God has been in the details of our relationship- how could I not trust Him now? He is in control and He is good.When Stephen suggested a “crazy” idea of us driving the next day and meeting half-way in NYC to spend the day together, I immediately agreed.I missed him and there was nothing more that I wanted than to spend the day with him.Saturday morning.
I stopped during my drive at a service center that had a Starbucks. As the girl behind the counter handed me my drink she said “Have a good day, Rebekah”. As I walked out with my chai latte, I thought “this is going to be a good day. I’m meeting the man I love in NYC to spend the day together. I may be getting engaged today. It’s going to be a very good day indeed.”As I drove into NYC, God reminded me that today was March 2nd. Stephen and I first met and started getting to know each other exactly 4 months ago on November 2nd. God is in the details, big and small.
Stephen and I have been talking for some time now about how we felt God leading us toward engagement and marriage. A month ago, Stephen asked my dad for his blessing to marry me. We had gone ring shopping together. I knew that Stephen would be proposing soon yet I didn’t know if he had the ring yet. As I drove into NYC I reminded myself that if Stephen doesn’t have the ring, he couldn’t propose… so not to expect it today.
However, once I met up with Stephen I quickly knew that today was going to be the day. Stephen is an extrovert and gains so much energy from being around people, yet he showed even more energy and excitement than his normal self. Throughout the day, Stephen was taking short video clips and pictures of our time together. Stephen and his best friend Mark, who lives in NYC, had been plotting and planning our day. I decided to trust Stephen with whatever plans he had for the day and simply enjoy all the surprises he had along the way.
We spent the afternoon ice skating at Bryant Park. I had only been ice skating once before but as I held hands with Stephen and talked away, I quickly became comfortable on the ice. We are better together.http://www.bryantpark.org/things-to-do/pond.html
We took some pictures and video footage in Times Square and hailed a taxi for the Conservatory Gardens in Central Park. http://www.centralparknyc.org/visit/things-to-see/north-end/conservatory-garden.html
The cab driver, who was from Bangladesh, was very chatty. At the end of our ride, he started giving Stephen relationship and marriage advice. In his thick accent, it was so funny to hear him talk and share his advice. “treat her nice, don’t be crazy, no baloney talk, tell her you love her. Don’t wait 5, 10, 30 years- get married, have babies, get on with life”
Once we were in the gardens, Stephen started telling how much he loved me and shared some of his heart with me. While he was talking, I was thinking “This is it, Stephen is actually proposing to me.” However, Stephen completely threw me off. At the end, when I expected him to get down on one knee with a diamond ring, he simply kissed me and hugged me. I started to say “I’m confused… I thought you were proposing” when I burst out in laughter because at that moment, Stephen was on one knee with a diamond ring. In midst of my laughter, I said “Yes, I would love to marry you!”. At that point, Mark came out from where he had been hiding as he had videotaped the proposal. Mark then took a bunch of pictures for us. It was fun to capture some of our excitement and joy in pictures.
Stephen had recorded an eight minute speech that I was to listen to once we got to the gardens. It was a beautiful speech that he has written expressing his love and his desire to marry me. Right when I was to listen to it, Stephen’s i-phone died. Later I told Stephen that God was even in that detail. I enjoyed listening to it later in the warmth of his car instead of in the gardens where it was cold. I was touched though by the thought and time behind the speech Stephen had written for me.
The diamond ring. When Stephen and I were visiting my parents in NY, we went ring shopping at a couple local jewelers. At the first shop, I was simply getting an idea for what kind of ring I liked for myself. The second shop we went to, the first ring I tried on…. I immediately knew it was the one. The diamond was larger than I had expected but Stephen said something to the effect of “every time you look at your diamond ring, I want you to know that it is simply a small reflection of your value, worth, and beauty. It is a small reflection of how much I love you.” I almost started crying right there in the jewelers. Stephen did more research and continue to search for the right diamond. After a month, Stephen realized we had already found the right diamond for me.
When we left Central Park, Stephen took me to dinner at Cafe Lalo. This cute cafe was in the movie “You’ve Got Mail”, which was the first movie Stephen and I watched together. It was a perfect first movie since it is one of my favorites and the main characters also met online. Dinner at Cafe Lalo was the perfect surprise. I loved the sentiment behind it and I enjoyed the cute, fun atmosphere of the cafe.http://cafelalo.com/cafe/about-us/
Later we had dessert with Mark at Magnolia Bakery. One of their most popular desserts just happens to be banana cream pudding which I of course loved. At that point, I had fun calling my mom and one of my best friends to share the exciting news.http://www.magnoliabakery.com/
After dinner, it started to snow. The lights of the city and the snow gently falling was a perfect backdrop for a very memorable, romantic, amazing day. The perfect engagement story with the man God has chosen for me!